A low unemployment rate is cause for celebration. It means people are working, paying taxes, and bringing home the bacon. That’s why most people see the current 3.6% US unemployment rate as fantastic news – it’s an astronomical improvement over the 10% unemployment rate after the 2008-09 Great Recession.
But there’s a hitch for folks who are tasked with hiring, especially those hiring for contact center teams: when more people are working, there are fewer active job seekers. It’s of little surprise, then, that 45% of US employers report difficulty in filling jobs. For larger companies, that rate is 67%. In particular, customer service agents are among the most in-demand roles in the US, making them extremely difficult to fill. As a result, finding available, high-quality talent to fill jobs for US-based contact center operators – whether staffing inhouse centers or outsourced - is increasingly challenging.
But there is good news. While the US unemployment rate is, as we’ll discuss in more detail below, concerningly low, it’s relationship with the Canadian unemployment rate is consistent – that is, for over two decades, the Canadian rate has sat a little higher, currently at 5.8%. This seemingly small but significant difference positions Canada as the perfect place for outsourcing – especially for companies who are looking for onshore solutions.
Most economists consider an unemployment rate below 5% as “full employment.” In other words, almost everyone who is willing and able to work is employed. It’s a term that often goes hand-in-hand with the label “zero unemployment.”
Essentially, with the US rate at a near-50 year low of 3.6%, this means that the vast majority of people who make up the unemployment rate are unemployed because they are unable or unwilling to work. So, US employers are faced not only with a smaller available labor pool, that pool tends to be made up of people who are also less qualified than the available labor pool of ten years ago. Add the fact that there are more US job openings than unemployed Americans, and the dilemma is clear.
In spite of some of those persistent negative stereotypes about the contact center industry, delivering an optimal customer experience does require business acumen, technical/digital skill, and emotional intelligence – and that’s just for starters (more info on the ideal agent profile here). The best agents are educated, have great communication skills, want to do meaningful work for great brands, and are pumped up about the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. For talent acquisition teams, the challenge now is to woo people who are already employed into ditching their jobs and coming to work for you. If you’ve been in the trenches of hiring for US call centers, it’s hard not to toss a cynical “good luck with that” remark out there.
But in Canada, with an unemployment rate above the “full employment” line, at 5.8%, there are still able-and-willing-and-qualified candidates available for work. If you look to metropolitan areas in Canada, the rate is even more attractive – 6.6% in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for example. And this workforce is also well-educated – over 70% of adults in Halifax have post-secondary education. This creates a rich talent pool of people who fit the ideal profile of a contact center agent.
Economists tell us that when wage inflation occurs at a faster rate than the pace of price inflation (as is the case in the US), a company’s margins decrease, making it harder to keep up with rising wages. That spurs employers to dip into that less talented labor pool, and that, in turn, inevitably impacts productivity and quality of products and services. In the contact center, the customer experience often suffers as a result, which directly reflects on the integrity of the brand and reduces customer loyalty (for more insight about the true cost of losing a customer, click here).
Again, in Canada, this is less of an issue. With greater access to available talent, the competition isn’t quite so cut-throat, and wage growth subsequently occurs at a more balanced pace, on par with cost inflation. As such, there’s no need to turn to less-qualified talent or consider exponential increases in compensation. The extra bonus to outsourcing to Canada is that the US-Canadian exchange rate is highly attractive to American companies, at 1 US Dollar to 1.33 Canadian Dollars. That means your money goes further, freeing you entirely from the challenge of rising US wages.
Even if US employers do decide to increase wages to attract more contact center talent, those candidates aren’t going to show up overnight. Unfortunately, time to hire is on the rise – a current average of 42 days, leaving many positions open for longer than ever before.
This is partly due to the lack of talent, but also a result of how candidates are responding to the competitive US job market. More companies are experiencing “ghosting,” where candidates simply disappear in the recruitment process, chasing after new opportunities without following up on others. When this happens further into the process, after scheduling an interview or even making an offer, employers end up back at square one, lengthening the process even more.
The amount of time spent in the recruitment process directly impacts a contact center’s KPIs. For example, if the team of frontline agents is short-staffed, that’s likely going to result in longer ASA, especially during peak volume hours, days, or seasons. Agents under pressure may struggle to achieve first-call resolution or succeed in creating a positive customer experience.
There’s also the immeasurable impact – the stress that an under-staffed team experiences is detrimental to employee morale and engagement. And while happy employees make for happy customers, the opposite is also true. Ultimately, your customer experience could be at risk.
At Blue Ocean, we might be a little biased – Halifax, Nova Scotia, is home to our headquarters and we are Canadians at heart. But the truth is, our contact center just might be the solution if you’re faced with the challenges of the US unemployment rate and its impact on your workforce. Just ask any of our US-based clients about the value we bring to their businesses. Say the word and we’ll send you our client roster or hook you up with a client reference.
Looking for hard numbers? Let’s chat! Request pricing here or drop us a line to find out more.
Publish Date: July 3, 2019
|1.)||Call Center Studio|
Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.
iCallify: intelligent call center software is one of the most popular products offered by iNextrix. iCallify is developed using cutting edge technologies as well as the predictive sphere of artificial intelligence. This call center software has some intelligent features along with the standard features available in other call center solutions. Thus, it is truly an intelligent call center software solution.
This intelligent call center software is built to benefit all businesses, no matter what industry vertical they belong to. This call center software has features to empower different campaigns in different call centers and businesses.
Accordia Solution CIS
Accordia Solution is an innovative developer of seamlessly integrated cost-effective omnichannel Contact Center Solutions specifically targeted at the micro, small and medium operations.Our core business model involves the development and marketing of IP Telephony and IP Contact Center Solutions. We also strive to develop customer interaction solutions which include contact center and customer relationship management (CRM) that enhances Customer Experience Of The Future (CEOTF) and optimizes agent productivity.
Our flagship product, the Accordia Customer Interaction Suites (CIS), offers comprehensive functionality by helping your business meet and exceed the level of service in line with...
Aculab Cloud CPaaS
ACULAB Technologies is communication enabling company assisting our customers in all verticals with business and mission critical solutions to communicate securely and efficiently internally and for their customers and partners. We have a robust CPaaS (Communication Provider as a Service) supporting all methods of communications; sms, voice, data, etc. promoting fraud mitigation, improvement of identity and customer experience. We have a best of breed Voice & Face Recognition Biometrics Identity Solution and AMD- Answering Machine Detection. Key sectors are Contact Centre, IVR, Voice Broadcast, Conferencing, Healthcare, Finance, Insurance, Emergency Services and Defense/Government. www.aculab.com.
Adversus is a web-based dialer and practical CRM solution for telemarketing, fundraising, and appointment scheduling businesses.
|6.)||Alcor Consulting, Inc.|
Omnichannel contact center platform which can be deployed on-premise, private cloud or public cloud subscription. Our contact center provides all of the modern features expected in a full contact center solution. Includes voice, SMS, chat, email, and social media integration. Built-in integrations for all major CRM's (Plus a built-in CRM). Survey module and QA module are also available.
Contact Center is a powerful tool that you can add to your unified communications (UC) solution to ensure you've always got the right resources available to both customers and employees, no matter the communication channel they're using — voice, email, web, chat or social.
Contact Center’s enhanced call routing and workforce management tools can help increase employee productivity. And with the advanced reporting and forecasting tools, you’ll be able to properly staff your contact center and enhance your customer experience.
It has everything you need to deliver superior customer and employee experience.
Alvaria Cloud is the only enterprise cloud contact center solution that allows you to adopt best-of-breed Customer Experience (CX) and Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) applications modularly. Start with one or more applications and then add applications with ease when ready for additional capabilities, as your needs change. With the Alvaria Cloud Platform, you have the advantage of knowing that all provisioning, security, user management and other administrative tasks are already configured and in place.
Noble Contact Center
Noble offers a modern communications platform for optimizing all customer interaction. Put Noble’s unified platform to work for you — building performance and productivity, improving the quality and effectiveness of customer contacts, and reducing costs. With the critical software technologies that contact centres need most, our solutions provide seamless integration to existing corporate environments, reduce your learning curve and protect your technology investments.
Genesis Intelligent Series
Genesis is the latest advancement in Amtelco’s long line of call center solutions. This call center technology is entirely software-based and virtualized, with cloud-based capability. Genesis provides skills-based automatic call distribution (ACD), built-in speech recognition, text-to-speech (TTS), and voice services to improve call routing and management.
|11.)||Arise Virtual Solutions|
The Arise Platform
Arise is a pioneer of on-demand customer management business process outsourcing solutions, headquartered in Florida. Through the cloud-based Arise Platform, Fortune 50 and other companies connect to Service Partners who deliver authentic, loyalty-building interactions with their customers. Delivering radical flexibility to meet even extreme contact volume fluctuations, the award-winning Arise Platform is an innovative alternative to the traditional contact center.
Astute Agent gives your agents everything they need to work cases confidently and efficiently. This modern case management CRM is the preferred choice for Consumer Relations and Customer Care teams who support some of the world’s most prestigious brands.
Astute Agent balances agent efficiency with customer experience. Here’s how:
- Automated email responses
Using natural language processing, Astute Agent reads incoming customer emails and automatically supplies a response to agents to review and send.
- Auto-populated case fields
AI capabilities automatically suggest reason codes, product codes, and other case information, saving agents minutes per case.
- Time-saving case feat...
INBOX allows any digital interaction to be blended into single or multiple queues with zero service interruption with implementation. Organising them by business context with smart tagging and search filters, the events can be automatically prioritised and categorised. Automating the route to the correct agent or business orchestration rule. It also connects with all your social media channels, enabling you to respond and route accordingly in real-time. Customer sentiment is also indicated. Use it to measure trends across your business or by a single event so that your agents can easily prioritise responses.
|14.)||Brook Trout Solutions|
CCaaS, SIP Trunking, SD WAN, Interconnectivity
Brook Trout Solutions provides Technology Guide services to help Contact Centers find the best possible solution for their business.
We represent the leaders for CCaaS, CPaaS, SD-WAN, SASE, SIP. We identify the best fit for our customers and help them manage the lifecycle of the customer engagement. We also have an excellent solution for mobile marketing and can raise call acceptance by more than 50% with a Next Generation caller ID for mobile phones.
We solve problems and give our customers time back to run their business. Give us a call we have world class expertise and resources that can help you build an exceptional customer experience.
|15.)||Call Tracking Metrics|
CallTrackingMetrics is the only contact center solution with marketing attribution software built in. Our powerful UCaaS platform lets you know upfront who is calling in, what campaigns they were referencing, and their previous history with your company. Partnering this data with tools to automate and streamline your team’s workflow frees you up to focus on truly delighting your customers.
Conditionally direct calls, texts, chats and forms based on:
• Actions the customer has taken on your website
• Whether they’ve previously contacted your business
• Which agent they last interacted with
• Custom criteria unique to your business needs
• The location nearest to your customer
Welcome to CallShaper – Harnessing the Power of the Cloud for Greater Sales Efficiency
For sales-based call centers, where margins are so tight, it’s all about closing. Thanks to CallShaper, inbound or outbound call center directors can have a dynamic, highly flexible platform that enables sales agents to focus on making the sale.
Thanks to CallShaper’s flexibility, call center directors who are managing multiple vendors from multiple locations can have everything they need on one platform that offers 99.999% reliability. And when it comes to reporting, CallShaper has no equal in providing real-time transparency.
With CallShaper, clients quickly find that they are better able to manage efficiencies at the sales rep level – and make more money!
|17.)||Cloud Call Center Search|
From AI - WFO and everything in between!
Cloud Call Center Search has spent hundreds of hours evaluating and vetting leading cloud software applications (Omni-Channel, Artificial Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Workforce Management and many others) and their actual use in the trenches with real-world clients. As a result, we understand the strengths and weaknesses of cloud-based call center software solutions. At NO charge, Cloud Call Center Search will match your organization with the cloud software providers that are the best fit to drive positive ROI in your customer experience, sales, and back-office operations.
|18.)||Cloud IT Services GmbH|
Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.
You can see the full list of features here:
Cloud contact centre technology with built in gamification tools, workforce optimiser, omni-channel, speech analytics, artificial intelligence, quality assurance, PCI-DSS payment platform, form builder and much more features. All seamlessly integrating with almost 100% of your inhouse applications & CRM systems - creating one powerful workflow platform. Increasing productivity, customer engagement, saving you cost. Available in opex model - pay per license per month. No binding contracts with NO cost for 24/7/365 support and full training with built in SLA.
Consilium AWS and Amazon Connect Offering
Imagine a cloud-based contact center that can make customer engagement easy, deliver answers, assistance, and resolutions in a very personal manner, and in the context of your customers’ actions. Amazon Connect is a self-service, cloud-based contact center that provides a seamless omnichannel experience through a single unified platform for voice and chat. Contact center agents and managers don’t have to learn multiple tools, because Amazon Connect has the same contact routing, queuing, analytics, and management tools in a single UI across voice, chat, and mobile interface. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 175 fully...
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|Up Where Expectations Soar: Customer Care in the Age of Entitlement||April 15, 2019|
|How to Engage Gen Z in the Contact Center||March 26, 2019|
|Blue Ocean Wins 2019 Silver Stevie® Award in 13th Annual Stevie Awards for Customer Service||February 26, 2019|
|Empowering Your Team to Deliver Kick-Ass Customer Experience||February 25, 2019|
|Are You Using 1999 Metrics to Measure 2019 Customer Care?||February 7, 2019|
|Which 2019 Consumer Trends Will Impact Your Customer Experience Strategy?||January 22, 2019|
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